Which EU Countries Offer Citizenship by Investment?
When one mentions that they are a country’s citizens, we locate their geographical address and ethnicity, but citizenship extends beyond that.
One’s citizenship determines their position in a particular country. It is crucial because of the rights and liabilities it provides. There are several ways to get citizenship, such as by birth and naturalization.
Another not-so-common way to get citizenship is to opt for citizenship by investment program. In the said program, an applicant can get citizenship or a passport by making an economic investment in the nation. It is like a commercial deal in which one can invest and receive citizenship.
For a better understanding, an applicant must distinguish between residency and citizenship. A citizen is eligible to apply for a passport and has greater rights. On the other hand, resident status is often conditional, so an applicant can only apply for a travel document like an ID card.
Several countries in the European Union (“EU”) provide citizenship by investment programs. Also known as “EU economic citizenship.” In fact, in the first six months of 2021, Portugal has approved 445 residence permits by investments. And today, this mode is becoming more prevalent than ever before.
Which EU Countries Offer Easiest Citizenship by Investment Program in EU?
The following countries are the easiest to invest in for residency and citizenship options:
Malta is the nation with one of the quickest citizenship by investment programs. To reside in the country, residents need a one-year residency permit and a contribution of at least 750,000 euros. A person with a three-year residency permit can get citizenship with minimal effort. The procedure usually takes 12 to 36 months. Also, Maltese passports are easy to get.
Portugal is one of the easiest EU nations to get citizenship by investment. There is no requirement to move to Portugal. Yet through this program, one can enjoy attractive tax options, a substantial rate of return, and accessible health care through various investment options.
The minimum investment limit stands at 280,000 euros. For five years, an applicant has to spend only an average of seven days in Portugal before they apply for citizenship. Additionally, the applicant must be free of any criminal history, pass a Portuguese language exam, and have no outstanding taxes.
Under the citizenship by investment program in Spain, investing a minimum of just 500,000 euros in real estate will qualify investors and their families for temporary residency in a few months. Business, government bonds, and bank deposits are some more investment alternatives. The law has no minimum residency requirements. A 2-year first residence card is issued, followed by a 5-year renewal. Permanent residency is available after five years, while citizenship is achievable after ten. Additionally, an applicant does not have to live in Spain to keep and renew the resident visa permit.
What are the Minumum Investment Requirements for EU Citizenship by Investment Program?
Several countries in EU offer citizenship by investment program. Montenegro doesn’t have a formal Golden Visa program, but anybody who purchases real estate in Montenegro is eligible for residency. Also, there is no set investment rule in Montenegro.
It is the cheapest option because the realistic minimum is 50,000 euros. At 250,000 euros, Greece’s residency program has a lower investment rule than several other European countries. Currently, the price in Latvia is also 250,000 euros plus a 5 percent application fee based on the cost of the property.
What are the Requirements in EU Countries for Citizenship by Investment Program?
Each country has its requirements for citizenship by investment programs. Listed below are the requirements for citizenship by investment programs for Malta, Portugal, Greece, and Spain.
Citizenship by investment in the member-state of Malta includes a base investment of 600,000 euros for a residency period of 36 months. It may also be 750,000 euros for a minimum residency period of 12 months. Additionally, investors need to add 50,000 euros for each extra, depending on their application.
Investors also need to contribute an extra 700,000 euros to residential real estate. They may also sign a rental agreement with a minimum annual value of 16,000 euros that must be upheld for five years. The applicant must also pay 10,000 euros to a non-governmental organization.
An applicant needs to invest at least 280,000 euros, processing of which may take about six months. Investing can take place by capital transfer, business, or property acquisition.
The base investment should be consistent for five years. The investment property may be rented out or exchanged for another one. In the first year, the applicant must spend seven days there; in the following years, fourteen.
A residence permit for investments in Spain is issued for two years. It needs renewal after five years. But Spain does not allow second citizenship, except for only a few countries in Latin America.
Investment options include:
- Purchasing real estate amounting to 500,000 euros;
- Investing 1,000,000 euros in Spanish companies’ shares;
- Opening a bank deposit amounting to 1,000,000 euros;
- Buying government bonds worth 2,000,000 euros;
- Opening a business with an investment of 1,000,000 euros.
Greece is one of the many prominent member-states in the EU. The Greek program has the lowest investment requirement of any real estate resident visa program in Europe, requiring only a 250,000 euros investment in real estate in Greece. The property can be either residential or commercial and can be found anywhere on the Greek mainland or islands. The 250,000 euros minimum investment consists of any number of properties. Investors who purchase a home jointly may pool their funds.
Investment options in Greece include the following:
- Invest in real estate worth at least 250,000 euros.
- Sign a minimum 10-year lease with a hotel or other tourism destination.
- Make a capital investment in a Greek firm worth at least 400,000 euros.
- Purchase Greek government bonds for 400,000 euros.
- Invest 400,000 euros in bonds or stock of real estate investment firms.
- Deposit 400,000 euros at a Greek bank.
- Purchase government or corporate bonds worth 800,000 euros.
What are the Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programs: Portugal, Malta and Spain?
Portugal, Malta, and Spain provide Golden Visa Programs by Investment.
In Portugal, the investment explained above can be in the following programs:
- Buying a property worth 500,000 euros;
- Investing 350,000 euros in cultural heritage and historic buildings;
- Buying shares worth 1,000,000 of Portuguese companies;
- Investing 350,000 euros in projects which are research-oriented and developmental;
- Investing 250,000 euros in the preservation of the cultural and national heritage;
- Purchasing shares in investment funds worth 500,000 euros;
- Opening a company and creating ten jobs.
In Malta, the following two options are available:
- Malta Citizenship by Investment program: This program is called “citizenship by naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment.” It grants investors a Maltese passport after three years of residency. There is also an expedited option in which citizenship is given after one year for a higher cost.
- Malta Permanent Residency Program: The investment requirement is lower. Participants are also issued Maltese permanent residency permits. They can also qualify for Maltese citizenship after five years of residency.
In Spain, the golden visa program is the only alternative for citizenship by investment program. If the applicant intends to become a citizen of Spain, they must reside in the country for at least ten years. It is possible with the Investor Visa.
The applicant must live in Spain for at least six months each year for ten years to obtain a passport. Other conditions, such as language proficiency and links to Spain, are also necessary to become a citizen of that nation. A Spanish passport grants the holder access to the European Union’s labor market and visa-free travel to more than a hundred nations.
Which are the Countries Offering Citizenship By Investment Programs?
Thirty nations worldwide provide citizenship and/or residency by investment schemes. Only nine countries now offer a straight path to citizenship based on investment. St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship is the oldest program of its type in the world. It started in 1984. Dominica in 1993 and St. Lucia in 2016 began their citizenship by investment program. Antigua & Barbuda is one such nation. Turkey, Malta, and Montenegro also offer direct citizenship by investment.
Citizenship allows the applicant to get a position in a nation. When the applicant gets this status through investment, they must meet citizenship requirements through investment programs. Several countries all over the world have such programs. But Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland are the most accessible alternatives in the EU. Although the minimum investment starts at 50,000 euros, 250,000 euros is the most common investment in other countries in the EU. Every country has different investment limits, different investment options, and different permanence of residency. The criteria explained for Malta, Portugal, Austria, and Spain are clear examples of this.
The options available in Portugal, Malta, and Spain lay down the different programs prevalent in their respective countries. The citizenship by investment program is unique and a very lucrative option for investors to enjoy the perks of foreign nations in terms of taxes, infrastructure, security, business opportunities, and many more.